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Developments in water allocation

29 August 2005

Developments in water allocation

Water storage projects in the Hakataramea Valley and elsewhere could receive Government assistance in future, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton confirmed that Cabinet had approved a proposal for Government to play a role in supporting the development of community water enhancement schemes. Studies have estimated that increasing irrigation coverage by 200,000 hectares could add $250 million to the New Zealand economy.

"There are a number of impediments to developing community water enhancement schemes. Piecemeal development of irrigation, in the absence of community scheme development, can result in sub-optimal environmental, economic, and social outcomes."

Mr Sutton said the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry officials were working together to set up guidelines for government support for community water enhancement schemes, which should be available early next year.

That work would be done as part of the Environment Ministry-led Sustainable Development Water Programme of Action work.

Mr Sutton said Cabinet had considered the prospects of water storage from the Waitaki river catchment alongside the wider issue of supporting community water enhancement schemes.

"The most obvious potential for storage dams to be built to provide water for irrigation in the Waitaki catchment is in the Hakataramea valley. There are numerous potential opportunities throughout New Zealand.

"Dam site investigations and feasibility studies are yet to be completed, but any consideration of government support for Hakataramea Valley projects will be done under the new policy guidelines."

ENDS

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